Citrus Tree Companions: What To Plant Under A Citrus Tree

citrus tree in a field
(Image credit: Alamy)

Companion planting is a great, easy way to improve the health of your plants. Not only is it easy, it’s completely organic, too. Fruit trees are famously vulnerable to pests and diseases, so just taking the time to figure out which plants benefit them the most will go a long way to ensuring their success. Keep reading to learn more about what to plant under a citrus tree.

Citrus Tree Companions

Citrus trees, like a lot of fruit trees, fall prey to insects very easily. It is because of this, some of the best citrus tree companions are those that either deter or draw away harmful bugs. 

Marigolds are an excellent companion crop for almost any plant because their smell drives away so many bad insects. Other similar plants that deter common citrus pests are petunias and borage

Nasturtium, on the other hand, draws aphids to it. It’s still a good citrus companion, though, because every aphid on a nasturtium is an aphid not on your citrus tree. Sometimes, companion planting under citrus trees has more to do with attracting the right bugs. Not all bugs are bad, and some love to eat the things that love to eat your plants. 

Yarrow, dill, and fennel all attract lacewings and ladybugs, which feed on aphids. Lemon balm, parsley, and tansy attract tachinid fly and wasps, which kill harmful caterpillars

Another good set of citrus tree companions are legumes, such as peas and alfalfa. These plants leach nitrogen into the ground, which helps very hungry citrus trees. Let your legumes grow for a while to build up nitrogen, then cut them back to the ground to release it into the soil.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.